Gott gets Tigers going

Steve Garber’s favorite mode of attack proved to be his best option Monday.

And though the Marshalltown Community College women’s basketball coach doesn’t have a specific player in mind when working through the paint, the Tigers found an obvious answer.

Taking advantage of a loose Dutch defense inside, Mackenzie Gott poured in 19 of her career-best 26 points in the second half and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the MCC women’s basketball team past the Central College junior varsity 77-68 at the Student Activity Center.

Jasmin Howe added 20 points and scored all 10 of her second half output in the final five minutes to help the Tigers (4-1) stave off a pesky Dutch squad playing in its season opener.

“We always want to go inside,” said Garber. “If we could go inside every possession we would. Sometimes our shooters are open from 3 and we give them the green light, but Mackenzie is probably our go-to player as far as our post players are concerned.”

Gott took on the role in stride scoring 13 of the team’s 17 points during a seven-minute span midway through the final stanza with a flurry of turnarounds to counter a 14-point second half burst by Central’s Megan Sole.

“They kind of just left me wide open and played behind me,” said Gott, who also tied her career-high in rebounds. “I really like it when the defense plays behind me.”

Howe also did much of her damage inside, slashing to the hoop early and often. The Australian freshman guard scored 10 of the Tigers’ last 14 including a pair of drives that highlighted a 6-0 run after the Dutch pulled within 61-59 with 4:56 remaining.

The duo combined to shoot 17-of-34 from the field as the rest of the Tigers made just 11-of-36 and MCC shot 40 percent (28-of-70) on the night. South Tama County grad Kaleigh Sieck drained four triples for 12 points, while Ashley Salgado added eight rebounds and five assists.

Sole led a quartet of double-digit Dutch scorers with 18 points and seven assists as her last trey brought Central within 69-64 with 2:56 to play before MCC clamped down.

Shelbi Stimpson tallied 11 points and nine rebounds and Cori Uitermarkt added a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards. Savana Thorton chipped in 10 points off the bench. Central finished just 26-of-75 (35 percent) from the field but outrebounded the Tigers 52-46 including 16 offensive boards.

The Tigers opened their biggest lead at 42-30 early in the second half though Central countered with a 13-4 surge as a basket by Sole cut the margin to three.

Garber didn’t see enough effort consistently from his defense, which allowed the Dutch to stay within striking distance throughout.

“Our defensive intensity wasn’t nearly where we need it to be,” said Garber. “People weren’t stepping up and taking the bull by the horns and putting any competitive effort into stopping (Central) from scoring.”

MCC opened a 20-13 lead just past the mid-point of the first half before Central knotted the game at 22 and 26. The home team closed on an 11-2 run to create a 37-28 cushion heading into halftime.

The Tigers have a week off before hosting North Central Missouri College Nov. 26 at 5 p.m. Garber said defense will be the main area to address in practice while also working to keep his squad mentally engaged throughout.

“To get that consistent pursuit of competing on a possession to possession mode is tough to teach and that’s a mental thing more than a physical thing,” said Garber. “We’ve got to try to instill that mental approach into our players a lot better.”